During the early part of his life, Hedley Fitton (1859-1929) worked as an editor and illustrator for The Daily Chronicle in his home town of Manchester, England. He specialized in architectural etchings and gained notoriety for his finely detailed etchings of well-known British and European structures. His etchings include street scenes and prominent cathedrals of such cities as London, Florence, Edinburgh, and Paris. He paid a great deal of attention to the architectural detail, using dark and light to give vibrancy to his subject matter.
Having thrived during the medieval period, the priory, as so many other religious orders, was surrendered to Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries in the mid-sixteenth century. Parts of it were demolished, parts sold into private ownership and only the choir was left for parishioners' worship. For a time the cloisters were used as a stable, and during Georgian times a few other ruins of the priory survived, among them some vaulted passages and the gateway from West Smithfield.
Hedley Fitton captures a gateway of Priory Church of St. Bartholomew-The-Great as it appeared to him. There are two workmen on the outside of gate with a cart; you can see inside the courtyard area there are people walking through. There is a lady standing beside the gate,looking in her purse. The plate size is 12 x 7 inches. I have not inspected the piece outside of the frame; but I believe that all it needs is a good cleaning and re-framed.
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